Dec 12, 2016

Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Title: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publishing Date: August 9, 2016
Pages/Format: 384, Paperback
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Nemesis (n.) 
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.


The Hating Game never really stood a chance with me. Plain and simple, hyped books just don't go well--and this, which has created some raving, full-on flailing buzz in the blogosphere (even my aunt, who isn't a blogger, just read it), is what I would consider hyped. If the majority of everyone else loves a book then I am doomed and cursed to not love it and add another book to the throne my black sheep ass sits upon. While I could hope to love such a book, I should expect not to. So, like I said, The Hating Game never really stood a chance. Except that--somehow and miraculously and stunningly--it did.

Let me be frank: I fucking loved this book. I adored the ever-loving shit out of it. It was just so damn good and I, like, can't even. The Hating Game isn't something I usually read--a contemporary romance in the adult category. It's the latter that's out of the norm for me, but if adult contemp romances are like this then give me all of them. Once I got into it--after a couple chapters, maybe?--I really, really got into it and having to set it aside to do things like sleep or run errands was physically painful. I'm surprised my face doesn't hurt from all the freaking smiling I did while reading this. And when I finished it after staying up late to do so? (As if I was going to sleep a wink until I devoured The Hating Game to its very end.) I went to bed with a smile on my face and the inability to push Sally Thorne's amazing debut out of my mind.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are executive assistants to the co-CEOs of a publishing company, and they utterly and completely hate each other. They play games with each other in the office, the number one of which is the Hating Game. Lucy is the five-foot tall nice and quirky girl everyone likes (and pushes over), and Josh is the arrogant ass everyone fears (like, for real). Their hate for each other is glorious. The banter is deserving of all the awards to ever exist, and the chemistry is out of this world. THESE TWO. When it comes to each other they're supremely stubborn, but they are so meant to be and everyone knows it except for them. (Okay, maybe only one person doesn't know it.) Lucy is such a fun, grand perspective to be in, what with her hate for Josh (which consumes most of her thoughts) and her search to find her niche in the world. And Josh? Joshua. Fucking. Templeman. That man is so imperfectly perfect and flawed and you can't not love him. And he may be an ass--and he is--but he can also be such a tenderhearted sweetheart and some of the THINGS he DOES, you guys. This is a ship worthy of shipping, a ship worthy of an entire fleet, an armada, a ship too big to fit in our vast oceans and lakes. HAPPY SIGH.

The fact of the matter is that The Hating Game took something simple and nonsensical and pulled it off and did so very, very well. I've heard that it's filled with cliches, and I can see its predictability, but the story's written in a way that prevents any of that from being noticeable or bothersome. (And the reviews mentioning the cliches? Most of them don't have a problem with it, either.) Now, one of the things I don't like about New Adult and Adult is that the romance, in my opinion, lacks the tenderness and love that can be found in Young Adult relationships. Their seems to be more lust than love, and I just prefer to read about the latter. I'm going to purposely be vague for the sake of spoilers, but while The Hating Game may have been filled with bits of love and lust, it never felt overly lusty and it strayed from love feeling cheesy or instant. The relationship between Lucy and Josh felt genuine and messy and human, and it all just worked.

I feel like I had way more to say about The Hating Game but I can't remember what that was and also, I don't want to tell you all about it--I want you to read it yourself. And I promise you, this is so worth the read. It's not something I usually read at all--ever--and I adored it. I haven't felt so head over heels for a book in a long time, and I think the last book to so wholly grasp me was A Court of Mist and Fury six months ago. This is a book I want to snuggle up with and drown in smiles and giggles and feels for, and it's definitely one of the best books I've read this year. Hell, is it too soon to reread it? And it DEFIED THE HYPE. I'm not a black sheep! That in and of itself is a record breaking feat. If you know more books that are as swoony and smilingly and banterly perfect as this, please tell me. Sally Thorne is an author whose work I will be keeping a very large eye on, because if her future books are anything like her debut then she's sure to become a favorite and auto-buy author (and I might get slightly obsessed). I just hope that, in her upcoming novels, she fixes the one big, fat, horrible flaw The Hating Game had: it ended.

Did I like it? YES.
Did I love it? YES.
Would I reread it? Can I reread it now?
Would I purchase it? I bought it just so I could read it, and THANK GOSH I OWN IT. (Though my copy is horribly damaged. I need to fix that.)
Who would I recommend it to? Absofuckinglutely everyone. Especially lovers of contemporary romances and hate/love relationships. My GOSH.


  1. Yes! This book was amazing and totally lied up to the hype. Agree everyone needs to read it. Great review!!

  2. Yayyyy so glad you loved it too!! I read it twice in one week I loved it so much haha :D The only other adult contemp author that compares, in my opinion, is Sophie Kinsella. I loved her books a lot, esp Can You Keep A Secret and I've Got Your Number, but I love The Hating Game the most :)

  3. OMG this review. This review took all the thoughts I couldn't articulate in my own review of it. Seriously. Every one of them. From the fear of being the black sheep to thoughts on the actual book, even to comparing the euphoria of reading it to A Court Of Mist And Fury. At the expense of sounding creepy, I think you may be my reader soulmate.

    If that fangirly comment didn't convey the message, this review is perfect. I'm so glad I read it.


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